Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Wild Mountain Lion by fiznatty
A lot of my favorite photo encounters seem to feature wild cats. They are obviously photogenic subjects and, in the case of most species in the western hemisphere, are extremely elusive. So this was something of dream encounter. On one of my autumn trips I set aside two days to sit in a tree up in Utah's Wasatch Mountains, hoping for some sort of wildlife to show up at the natural spring below. On the first evening this mountain lion appeared just after sundown and spent a couple minutes slaking its thirst.

Yellowstone Wolf (Slough Alpha) by fiznatty
Those familiar with my stream know I spend a lot of time in Yellowstone National Park. This remains my favorite Yellowstone moment. While a crowd of 200 wolf watchers were focusing on a black wolf way out in the valley, I had a quiet moment with the pack's alpha male, standing on the hillside directly above me. He howled and then headed down toward the road. The mob soon turned and spotted him, but I got my private moment.

1: How long have you been involved in photography?
About 13 years now. I've been artistic since childhood, but it wasn't until I reached the tail end of college that I had a chance to play in the darkroom and grow to love photography.

2: Equipment you use?
Canon prosumer bodies (7D and older), with lenses ranging from 10mm to 500mm.

3: Mac or PC?
Mac. I used both for several years, but eventually needed to streamline my software. Mac won out. I don't miss the blue screens.

4: What inspires you?
"Good art," which can really include anything from the Oscars to the work I've seen on Flickr. Also, wilderness survival shows. There's almost a childlike sense of adventure that they bring out in me... makes me want to grab my gear and head off into the jungle for a couple weeks. The opportunity to give people a glimpse of the wild world out there means a lot to me as well, and probably explains why I enjoy sharing so many photos--not just the "portfolio quality" stuff--on Flickr and my site.

5: Preferred subject matter?
Wildlife. There's something alluring about coming face to face with a wild animal out in the middle of nowhere. It's usually a quiet, private moment; a moment that can be shared and conveyed to others... if I don't blow the shot. ;)

6: Name one thing you haven't caught with the camera that you REALLY want to capture.
Probably any rare wild cat would do, but a jaguar is at the top of the list (who's up for a trip to Brazil?). Lightning is up there too.

7: When in doubt about your art, who do you confide in?
My questions and self-doubt relate more to the technical side of photography than the artistic side. I have a good sense of what I want to capture and present, but often times the how is the problem. In those instances I usually lean on my peers for their insights and experience with equipment and technique.

8: Qualifications/training in anything? ie: Photoshop
Self-taught. I actually consider post-processing to be one of my greatest weaknesses, so I'm always trying new techniques that I pick up here and there. At least there's one aspect of my photography that is evolving!

9: Plans for the future?
My career is at a bit of a crossroads at the moment. I've been debating whether to expand the business side of my photography. This includes potentially leading tours and workshops, an idea I find rather intimidating. I'm also working on a series of children's picture books (featuring wildlife of course) for iPad and iPhone, the first of which was just released.

10: In one word, describe your photography.

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